The Southern Road: Ty Cobb Lives On

I have been a fan of the Detroit Tigers since I was old enough to hold one of the big, fat, orange pencils that they used to sell at Tiger Stadium. Through the years, I’ve heard plenty about Ty Cobb, the famous, supposedly mean slugger who set records that still stand. Since his nickname was “the Georgia Peach,” I knew he was from Georgia.

So, when I spotted a sign for Royston, Georgia, on Interstate 85 on the way from Greenville, South Carolina, to Chattanooga, of course I had to stop and find the Ty Cobb Museum. Along the way, I saw other signs for the Ty Cobb Healthcare System, which I thought was amusing, and which I soon learned is one of Cobb’s greatest legacies outside baseball.

Cobb wasn’t lucky in love, and two of his three sons died young. Left somewhat adrift, Cobb donated $100,000 to build a hospital in Royston, and he donated almost $1 million in today’s dollars to set up a scholarship fund for Georgia youngsters.

The Ty Cobb Museum is housed in a clinic that is part of the medical system. The gift shop, which sells the Ty Cobble-head and some snazzy fleece tops, is also the clinic office. Once you pay $5, you can enter the museum where there’s a film, and exhibits that include Cobb’s Detroit Tigers uniform, and his spikes, which he supposedly turned on every opposing baseman.

It’s a tiny memorial to someone who’s still talked about in baseball, a century after he played. But the bigger legacy is obviously in what he did for Royston.